Something that has come up over and over again during all my time with chronic illness is how to handle scheduling when your life isn't always predictable. I am finding it an issue once again, in the personal realm of things this time.
I try to be upfront with people about my illness. I find it makes it easier to find out right away if they can handle it or not, because frankly I have reached a point in life where I just don't have the time or energy to waste on those who can't understand. I recently moved (as I blogged about earlier this month) and so have come to meet some new people. I am still going through a lot of sickness at the moment, stuff in addition to my regular chronic illnesses. I am seeing an infectious disease doctor, I have CT scan scheduled for Wednesday and a procedure at the GYN this afternoon. On top of all of this, my mother has developed a re-occurrence of C. Diff, which she contracted in the hospital in late Aug./early Sept. We have a lot going on.
I met someone who had asked me to get together and I explained that the day in question was free at the moment, but that between not feeling well, and waiting to hear when tests (like todays GYN visit or the CAT scan) would happen, that might change. I felt I was being clear and honest. Last Thursday when I spoke to the GYN and found out I had to schedule this procedure today, I let my friend know that today wouldn't be a good time for getting together. This person went ahead and got tickets to a hockey game for tonight. I got a phone message yesterday to the effect that he hoped I would be able to make it since my doctor was at 4pm (which isn't the right time, but still. . .) and the game would start around 7pm and we could "catch some dinner before". Now I don't know about you, but I am not particularly fond of having a GYN procedure, hopping off the table and into rush hour traffic to go meet someone whom I don't know well, and then sitting through a hockey game. Another night I would love to do this. Had I not been clear when I told him that I had a doctor appointment scheduled for today I would feel guilty. Instead I feel angry and a bit manipulated.
It's a circumstance I've become too familiar with over the years. People hear what they want to hear, and then make you out to be the bad guy when things don't go as planned. It is disappointing enough to have to bow out of plans you would really like to keep, without the added guilt that goes along with this sort of behavior. I know the tickets weren't cheap. They also probably weren't easy to get on short notice. I just wish that instead of getting them and telling me about it after the fact, I had been consulted.
Do others find that even when they try to be open and honest about their health and the limits it puts on them, others seem to expect more than you can deliver? How do you handle this? I want to make new friends and keep myself open to new experiences, but I don't want to feel like a bad person when my body simply isn't cooperating. Any thoughts?